Betting on politics: But what about Catalonia?

With the Alabama election race over, political betting expert Matthew Partridge turns his attention back to the restive region.


Carles Puigdemont is boycotting the election in Catalonia
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Doug Jones' surprise victory in Alabama has overshadowed the impending elections in Catalonia. To recap, in August the Catalan government tried to hold an illegal independence referendum. The subsequent crackdown by the Spanish government set off a wave of protests, resulting in Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont declaring independence. Madrid responded by dissolving the government.

Because of the dissolution, fresh elections are due to take place just before Christmas on 21 December. While these elections are being boycotted by Puigdemont's party Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), all the other political groups are taking part.

The pro-independence faction is expected to lose its majority, dealing a blow to separatism, but the big question is who will win the most votes. Until recently it looked as though the pro-independence ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) would come first, and indeed Paddy Power are offering 1/3 (75%) on them winning.

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However, the last few weeks have seen a dramatic shift in the polls towards Citizens (Ciutadans), the main anti-independence party Some of the latest surveys have the Ciutadans out in front with leads of up to 3.4%. However, Paddy Power is clearly unconvinced. It still has the Ciutadans firmly in second place at 2/1 (33%). Interestingly, despite the boycott, they have JxCat at 9/2 (18.1%).

My view is that the Ciutadans stand to do very well, and have a good chance of coming out ahead. Support for independence has been stuck at 40-45%. I'd wager that many people are fed up with the endless calls for independence and are prepared to vote for a party that will oppose it.

I suggest you take Paddy Power's offer and bet on the Ciutadans. I'm going to wager a token £1, too, just to see what will happen (I'm now waiting for Paddy Power to pay out on our Elaine Duke and Bennelong bets that came due last week).

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri